Brush fire erupts in Sepulveda Basin

Data pix.

ENCINO, Calif. -- A brush fire erupted in the Sepulveda Basin Thursday amid red-flag fire conditions, darkening about 60 acres and sending a thick plume of black smoke into the air.

The fire erupted just before 4:30 p.m. near the 5600 block of North Woodley Avenue.

Los Angeles Fire Department officials said the blaze burned in a southwestern direction, and residents in the Encino and Sherman Oaks area were urged to prepare for possible evacuations, given the dry, windy conditions. As of early evening, however, no evacuation orders had been issued and no structures were being immediately threatened.

As of 9 p.m., the fire was 80% contained.

Burbank Boulevard was closed in both directions between Woodley Avenue and Sepulveda Boulevard. On- and off-ramps between Burbank Boulevard and the San Diego (405) Freeway were closed, along with the southbound 405 ramp to Victory Boulevard.

According to the LAFD, homeless people living in the area were being moved south toward the Ventura (101) Freeway.

The Sepulveda Basin has become a common camping site for the homeless, although there was no immediate indication of what sparked Thursday's blaze. A roughly seven-acre brush fire burned in the basin in late July, displacing an estimated 100 homeless people who were living in the area.

City crews swept through the area in August and September conducting a massive cleanup operation. The fire also prompted the city to quickly approve an ordinance allowing police to clear homeless people out of fire-prone areas during red flag conditions.

A city fire official told reporters that the area involved in Thursday's fire was not included in the high-fire-severity zone covered by the ordinance.

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